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How to Start your Family’s Christmas Traditions

To date, I have a 4 year-old daughter and a 3-month old baby girl. I am a newbie in Christmas traditions. We just started last year when Macy showed interest in Christmas. I took it as an opportunity to show God’s love to her through activities as we count the days to Christmas.

I first heard about Christmas traditions from friends and women leaders in church who make the most of the season through traditions. These traditions are great avenues to make memories that last for years, even decades.

You can search online or pattern your tradition around a book like Anne Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Christmas Gift, Cunningham’s Donkey in the Living Room, and so on. What matters is the heart behind each tradition that makes your Christmas all the more meaningful.

Simple and meaningful. That’s what we want our Christmas to be. Remember that Christmas season should be joyful, not stressful.

Here are a few we have done as a family:

 

  1. Advent Candles

The word Advent came from the latin word adventus. This means ‘the arrival, the coming.’ Ideally, there should be four candles placed inside the Advent Wreath.

Here’s an excerpt from Cherished Traditions: “Placed on our living room table, we take time to read the story of Christmas from well-loved books once a week for the four weeks of December. The story of the birth of Jesus comes to life as we read it aloud for our kids to hear. Usually done in the evenings after dinner, one candle is lit at a time. Then all are lit together on Christmas Eve,” writes Ate Malou de Guzman, wife of our Senior Pastor in Victory Katipunan.

 

  1. Home Decorating

Over the years, our family has collected Christmas ornaments and little Christmas houses. My husband and I started when we were newlyweds. We bought a small Christmas house in Dapitan for P600. Every year we buy another house for Christmas. Our dream is that one day when we are old, they will look like a Christmas village, that represents each year God was with our household.

Of course, Christmas will not be complete if there is no nativity. This is a Christmas display we have in our home to show our little ones a picture of one of the greatest stories in the Bible.

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Christmas is not complete without the Nativity. From our Tita Nenette’s collection of Belens
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Small houses we bought from Dapitan Arcade
  1. Gift Giving

During Christmas, we see sales in every corner. It’s easy to be distracted from the true meaning of Christmas. Hence, in this time of the year, we make a Gift Giving Day. It can be as simple as cookies from the supermarket or her well-loved toy. We want our kids to make this season meaningful as they extend God’s love to everyone.

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Macy and I went around UP and gave cookies to guards and students on campus
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Macy donating her well-loved toy to less fortunate kids
  1. Advent Calendar

Each day that leads to Christmas, I prepare a simple activity in our advent calendar. Every morning, Macy checks Mr. Snowman to see the activity for the day. Most of the time, I link it to a Bible story and explain God’s love in each story. The activities we make are simple like making a paper boat, making a telescope, writing someone a letter, making someone laugh and so on.

Simple and meaningful. That’s what we want our Christmas to be. Remember that Christmas season should be joyful, not stressful.

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Anne Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. This serves as this year’s Bible reading and we pattern our daily activities to the stories.
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Mr. Snowman. Our advent calendar that Macy checks to know the activity for the day. I prepare this days before December 1. I make sure the activities our simple and easy. Christmas season should be joyful, not stressful.
  1. Family Portrait

Every year, our family has a portrait session in a studio or with a photographer friend. We document this and as we look back, we see how our family has grown from two to three and now we are four! Excited when Lily finally joins us for a family picture!

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Last year’s Christmas family photo
  1. Happy Birthday Jesus!

In all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, it is most of all His birthday. So on Christmas Day, we have a cake and we blow candles after we sing to Jesus. We thank Him for His faithfulness the whole year. Our Christmas eve menu is very simple. We have a default menu that we just add variety each year. Our menu is as follows: Meat (can be chicken or Jamon de Bola), Pasta (Pesto or Spaghetti) and Cake.

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Three year-old Macy mixing the batter for our Christmas cake

 

Christmas doesn’t have to be extravagant to be special. What matters is the heart behind everything we do during this most awaited time of the year. Years will pass and our children will not remember what color the tree was or what food you prepared on Christmas Eve, they will remember the undivided time you gave in sharing the beautiful story of Jesus and His love for them.

Have a meaningful Christmas! 🎄

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